Bjarke Ingels Group brings life on Mars to Earth

By Eden Powell / Sports Reporter 

Have you ever wondered what life on Mars looks like? Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), A Danish architecture firm, is making that vision a reality. 

In 2020, BIG was commissioned by NASA to test 3D printing techniques for human habitations called “Project Olympus.” Currently, BIG is working on 3D printed homes and neighborhoods in Texas. While their expertise in this field grows, ICON Entertainment is partnering with BIG and conducting the 3D printing plans for this project on our lunar satellite. 

The test includes a simulation of life on Mars that “will begin in the near future.” According to BIG designer, Montreale Jones. Participants will experience as close to reality as possible and include simulated equipment, communication delays, intentionally limited resources and other planned issues. All the while, astronauts in training must continue their research and training. The results of this simulation and the next two years of testing will help plan a real trip to Mars. 

EXPLORING SPACE: An astronaut is imaged on the moon, advancing modern space exploration. Credit: BIG-Bjarke-Ingels Group.

“To change the space exploration paradigm from ‘there and back again’ to ‘there to stay,’ we’re going to need robust, resilient, and broadly capable systems that can use the local resources of the moon and other planetary bodies,” ICON co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard said in a press release.

The 3D printer ICON will be using is named “Olympus.” Similar to how soil on different parts of Earth can vary greatly in composition—in some places it’s rockier, in others it’s sandier, in yet others it contains clay – the moon’s regolith isn’t quite the same all over. ICON will need to test how Olympus functions with different materials to make sure the tool will be usable on various parts of the moon.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement,” Ballard claims optimistically.

Harpeth Hall Upper School Physics Teacher Hannah Bond had many insightful opinions on what this could mean for the Harpeth Hall community. While she stated how many countries are manned on the moon, this will be very different in the realm of Mars.

“Going to Mars is a huge leap in complexity. For many years NASA has planned to bring back samples of rock and dust from Mars, but no one has yet brought anything back.  We will probably build a manned station on the Moon before having a station on Mars,” Bond said. “My prediction is that Harpeth Hall graduates will be part of those projects – part of a renewed spirit of space exploration!”

Through this experiment, space exploration will continue to evolve. Keep up with this specific moon expedition to learn more about the future of space exploration.

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